Black History Month: Black Prides in the Carolinas
Charlotte Pride is celebrating Black History Month with special highlights every Tuesday and Thursday, profiling Black LGBTQ change-makers and history with a special connection to Charlotte and the Carolinas. Our profiles will include history-makers from decades past, as well as those heroes living and making their mark in our own time.
Today, we’re profiling the LGBTQ Black Pride organizations which have made their mark in empowering and bringing visibility to Black LGBTQ people in the Carolinas. Black Pride organizations and events have existed at various times and various places across the region. Some, like those in Raleigh and Durham, are no longer active, but these four groups below are still active, including the brand new Charleston Black Pride. Like many Pride organizations, these groups saw a hiatus on in-person programming in 2020, with some turning to virtual events. Be sure to bookmark their websites and social media and follow along as they start making history again in 2021 and beyond!
Charlotte Black Pride
Co-founded by currently serving board member Jermaine Nakia Lee and Damon Blackmon, Lynkoya Handy, and Monica Simpson, Charlotte Black Pride made a splash when it debuted in the Queen City in 2005. It faced some racist backlash and opposition, but its first year’s events were a resounding success, laying the groundwork and a model for future events. Like its first event, the group annually organizes a town hall forum, arts and live theatre events, and a community expo with entertainment and nonprofit and small business vendors. One of the group’s most popular annual events its is Jazz Brunch, held the final Sunday of each year’s week-long festivities. In 2020, Charlotte Black Pride leaned into a “Pride 365” theme, holding COVID-safe, virtual events including a virtual Pride Week 2020, virtual expo, online livestreams and conversation series, and more.
Charleston Black Pride
This new organization was founded in 2019 in South Carolina’s bustling and historic port city by Dr. Regina Duggins. The organization’s mission is “to create opportunities that educate, inspire, improve and celebrate the experiences of LGBTQIA people of color.” Duggins started the group, according to her organization biography, “to highlight and bring awareness, inclusivity, and acceptance of LBGTQ+ individuals of Color who are multifaceted, talented, educated, cultured, and artistic within our community.” Some of the group’s recent activities have included online social media campaigns to raise awareness on COVID-19 safety, local drag arts events, support for last fall’s Trans Day of Remembrance events in Charleston and more.
Fayetteville Black Pride
Created by Alvernian Davis, Fayetteville’s Black Pride events have had a varied history. Davis had started some earlier events in the first decade of the 2000s, but it wasn’t until 2015 that the current organization was founded. Fayetteville Black Pride presents the usual slate of community awareness and outreach events, along with parties and other fun events, but also has a focus on increasing access to health and wellness services.
South Carolina Black Pride
South Carolina Black Pride traces its roots to a 2006 event, the Black/Latino Gay Pride, produced in coordination with Palmetto UMOJA and the Carolinas Black Pride Movement, a short-lived group founded by Charlotte Black Pride founder Jermaine Nakia Lee. The organization was officially organized in 2009. The group operates on “Six Pillars of Pride,” including: Education, Community Involvement, Youth and Young Adults, Health and Wellness, Political Foundation, and LGBTQ Unity. Annual events include health and wellness expos, picnics, town halls and community forums, HIV/AIDS support and prevention, and more.